There has been a revolving-door aspect to Brandon Morrow's career, splitting time as both a starter and a reliever since the strong-armed pitcher was a first-round draft choice in 2006.
Now, another door is opening for him in Toronto with the Blue Jays, who view the 25-year-old as a key component in the construction of a solid, young starting staff.
At spring training, the Blue Jays will be giving Morrow - acquired in a trade with the Seattle Mariners last December - a long look, hoping he will emerge from the pack and become a member of the rotation heading into the 2010 season.
Morrow said it is gratifying to him that the Jays feel so strongly about his potential.
"I guess you know, the back and forth in Seattle kind of starts to wear on you a little bit and it's nice to know that you've got a position and that's what you're working towards," he said yesterday. "You don't have to think about two different things at one time and try to prepare yourself for two different roles."
Morrow can blaze a fastball in the high-90-miles-an-hour range and spent time in both the bullpen and as a starter for the Mariners last season, where he had 10 starts in 26 appearances on the mound.
He fashioned a 2-4 record, with a 4.39 earned-run-average, and struck out 63 batters in 692/3 innings. But he suffered from control issues, averaging 5.7 walks per nine innings.
Morrow said he would probably be a little further along in his career as a starter if that was all he had to concentrate on over the first three years of his professional career. But he added the 131 games he has seen duty in, most of it in a relief role, is invaluable experience.
"It takes a while just to get comfortable out there," he said. "What I'm starting to learn now is I don't have to be 100 per cent every pitch. I'm starting to find that comfort level where I can cruise and it helps with my control and stamina and everything."Robert MacLeod
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